In Part One, we established that things — ideas, products, concepts, etc. — don’t usually just sell themselves; they need to first be sold. We concluded by looking at Schopenhauer’s famous quote, “All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
And, sometimes…it’s simply ignored!
In his excellent book, The Purple Cow, marketing authority Seth Godin shares the story of the person who literally invented sliced bread. We’ve all heard the saying that something is “the best thing to come along since sliced bread.” So, obviously, the man responsible for its creation saw the world rushing to his door, correct?
Umm, not exactly. According to Godin:
“In 1912, Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented this simple machine that could take a loaf of bread and actually slice it. And, the machine was a complete failure. This was the beginning of the advertising age, and that meant a good product with lousy marketing had very little chance of success. It wasn’t until about twenty years later — when a new brand called Wonder started marketing sliced bread that the invention caught on. It was the packaging and the advertising of WonderBread — builds strong bodies twelve ways — that worked, not the sheer convenience and innovation of pre-sliced bread.”
The point is, regardless of whether it’s a huge, multi-national conglomerate paying big bucks to advertise or the salesperson or small business owner hitting the pavement, the Internet, or both, selling on some level must take place.
Sure, the McDonald’s customer doesn’t have to be sold on the burger (though originally they were), or maybe even the fries and soft drink. But the person behind the counter who knows how to gently, effectively and consistently upsell the hot, delicious apple pie brings in a lot more money for the store, and has a happier (if not lighter) customer.
Yep, even great ideas usually need to be sold. And, they are sold by salespeople. That’s why sales is called “sales” and selling is called “selling.” Neither are called order-taking.
Of course, that salesperson need not literally be a sales professional, but may instead take the shape of a parent, a friend, a teacher or a coach. In other words, someone who sells another on doing what will be in the best interest of the buyer.
And that might simply be spreading the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the jelly on the other.